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Thread: Help! Need encouragement

  1. #1

    Unhappy Help! Need encouragement

    I have a 5 week old son and I've fed him breastmilk only since he was born. Breastfeeding means a lot to me and I really want to see it through but I've had some challenges that seem to have really made me want to quit and go to formula. After my son was born, I ended up with a horrible spinal headache that made me unable to sit up for the first 2 weeks of his life. So I breastfed laying down, not particularly paying attention to proper latch/position, mainly because I felt so terrible and also because I was naive and didn't know it mattered. Well this resulted in cracked, bloody, gashed nipples on both sides that by week 3 were killing me. I was briefly encouraged to keep going because my son gained 26 oz in 2 weeks, but I dreaded feeding him and then felt guilty for feeling that way. So I went to pumping and bottlefeeding just to get him fed, but I quickly learned how time consuming pumping is, so I tried going back to nursing. Then I ended up with an infected clogged duct on my right side and that set me back, again I dreaded feeding times. It was still extremely painful so I went to a lactation consultant last week. She said my son's latch looks good and she gave me a nipple shield to use. The right nipple is really damaged and she told me to just pump that side until it heals, and nurse from the left side. I have been doing this and it's been working ok but I'm still in quite a bit of pain and my nipples are sore between feeding/pumping. I am just sick of being in constant pain and I am wondering if anyone has any suggestions for improving this or even some encouraging words! My friends keep telling me to hold on and it'll get better but so far it just seems like one thing after another and I don't see how it can improve. Sorry for the long post, just wanted to give the full story (and vent a little).

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Ontario
    Posts
    622

    Default Re: Help! Need encouragement

    Sounds like you've had a really rough go of it so far

    Does it hurt at all while you're nursing/pumping? Even if the LC said it looks good, if it still hurts then something probably isn't right! Are you using anything on your nipples to help them heal? Dr. Jack Newman's all-purpose nipple ointment is great -it has antibacterial/antifungal meds, as well as a steroid to help with inflammation and pain. You'd need a script from your doc. Also, are you using the correct size breast shields for your pump? Has he been checked for tongue/lip ties?

    This is a great place to vent, and also to get encouragement. You've made it through so much already -you can figure this out too!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,006

    Default Re: Help! Need encouragement

    So sorry about your rough beginning! But you've done so well to continue on, despite the challenges.

    First, how's the headache? Is it gone, or still troubling you?

    Second, can you describe the injuries to your nipples? Are you seeing single large cracks on each nipple, or multiple small, slit-like cracks? In addition, are you seeing any of the following:
    - vaginal yeast infection (mom), oral thrush (baby) or yeast diaper rash (baby)
    - peeling, flaking, dry-looking skin in the nipple area
    - sensations of burning or stinging pain in between feedings
    - nipples blanching (turning white), or perhaps blanching and then turning bluish purple, after feedings
    - nipples shaped like new lipsticks (asymmetrical, wedged, creased, or ridged) after feedings
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  4. #4

    Default Re: Help! Need encouragement

    been using motherlove nipple cream, but stopped about a week ago per the lactation consultant. I have used neosporin on the right nipple because it's pretty bloody. It seems to be healing now. The injuries to the nipples are large, one side has about 1/3 of the nipple surface gone and the other side has about half. I don't notice any yeast problems, but my right nipple has been turning purple during pumping. I do have mild burning/stinging pains on the left nipple after nursing that doesn't really ever go away. I would like to correct whatever is wrong, I just don't know what to change!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    21,006

    Default Re: Help! Need encouragement

    Ouch.

    Seeing your nipple turn purple after pumping, coupled with stinging pain, sounds like vasospasm: http://kellymom.com/bf/concerns/moth...ple-blanching/ Try heat in between nursing/pumping sessions- hot water bottle, rice sock, whatever- and make sure you're using the correct size of shield. Compression is a major trigger for vasospasms, and poorly fitting shields can cause compression. So can a poor latch.

    Neosporin is a good thing to use. My LC recommended using a combination of Bacitracin antibiotic ointment and 1% hydrocortisone cream to combat inflammation and infection. If the scabs on those big cracks are causing a lot of pain, try hydrating them before nursing/pumping by soaking them with a wet washcloth or immersing them in a shot glass of warm water for 30-60 seconds. Moist, soft scabs tend to tear open slightly less painfully than dry, hard ones.
    Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
    Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    5,479

    Default Re: Help! Need encouragement

    EDIT oops posted same time as mommal was, sorry for any repitition!

    Lots of mothers have come back from severe nipple injury to nurse very happily. I count myself among them. It takes some perseverance but I assure you that once you can just nurse, (no more pumping) and nurse pain free, life becomes so much easier and nursing becomes a joy and an excellent mothering tool. But it is very important that physical issues such as tongue tie or thrush are ruled out, so I am glad you are seeing an IBCLC.

    So the shield is to make latching more comfortable while you heal, but it sounds like that is not really working. Right? I mean, some pain is normal when you have such a severe injury even if latch is now good. But it "should” be starting to feel at least a bit better if the latch is now correct. So you might want to talk to your LC about continuing to have pain even with the shield. If the shield is not helping, and baby can latch without it, maybe better not to use it.

    As far as pumping, is your LC thinking that latch would be ok now, but nursing is hurting due to the extreme nipple injury, and that once that heals, you can encourage baby to nurse again, without the shield? That does make sense, although be sure to pump often enough to keep up good milk production. Also make sure your pump is not reinjuring you. It has to fit right and don’t pump at a setting that is beyond comfortable for you. Some mothers choose to nurse through injury and still heal as long as the latch is not causing re-injury. But what will work best is very individual.

    I think the purple is a sign of vasospasm, as is the pain after pumping. Mommal is more up on vasospasm than I am. This can be caused by pumping, or a an off latch and some mothers are more prone than others. Warmth applied after nursing should help if that is the issue, and there is a medication for the mothers with a condition that causes this. Your LC should have all this info for you.

    Lanolin breast creams have been shown to speed healing, by promoting "moist wound healing" but I am not sure about motherlove, although theoretically, any "barrier" cream that acts to seal in your body’s own oils to allow the moist wound healing would potentially help. Does your LC want you using nothing but Neosporin? I suppose if it is in an ointment form it may do the same...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    102

    Default Re: Help! Need encouragement

    I have had similar problems with nursing and had to stop altogether to get my nipples to heal. I have been pumping every 3 hours for 20 minutes for about 2 weeks now and my nipples are finally starting to heal. I am hoping to go back to nursing but am waiting to see my LC once I get a referral from my Dr in about a week. It is so frustrating so I totally understand where you are coming from. I sometimes feel like somehow I have been inadequate for my baby but I have to keep reminding myself that as long as he is drinking my milk then that is what is important. Pumping was painful at the beginning too but as my nipples are healing it has gotten so much easier. Pumpling is very time consuming but I feel like I am finally getting the hang of it. Getting a good pump is uber important to help with nipple healing. I had bought a bad one that made me bleed even more. I turned to Medela pump in style and it has been working wonders! Expensive but totally worth it. I have also been using Lanolin to help with the healing process. It seems to be working. I hope all goes well for you. Don't give up. Your milk is best for baby!! We can do this!!

  8. #8

    Default Re: Help! Need encouragement

    I agree with the vasospasm suggestion. I had that issue bathe pains after nursing and color changing nipples. KEEP WARM while nursing and directly after. After a nursing session apple warm dry compress to nipples for 15 minutes. This helped me a lot. I also agree with the suggestion for the all purpose nipple cream. It worked wonders for me.

    I'm sorry it's been so rough. Remember. It's ok if you decide you've had enough. I had a lot of pain the first several months but felt too guilty to quit. On the other hand my 13 month old is still nursing so sticking in there paid off. Good luck mama.

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